UIC alumni, experts provide guidance during governor’s transition

Suzet McKinney, CEO of the Illinois Medical District and UIC alumna (SPH ‘09), co-chaired Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Job Creation and Economic Opportunity committee.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his incoming administration will be guided by recommendations from Chicago stakeholders and subject matter experts, including 11 people connected with UIC.

Known as transition committees, the groups were named by the Pritzker administration to share thoughts on how to overcome challenges facing the state, such as budget issues, economic inequalities and more.

Chairing the Transition Committee was Pritzker’s running mate, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, who is the first African American woman to hold her position. Stratton is the former director of UIC’s Center for Public Safety and Justice.

Among the list of transition groups was one tasked with improving the future of educators and their students, called the Educational Success Committee. Chicago Public Schools CEO and UIC alumna Janice Jackson (Education, ‘03,’10) was one of the co-chairs of the group, which consisted of 35 educational professionals — including UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis.

“It was a pleasure to serve on the committee and I’m confident that the new administration will have an ambitious and positive agenda for public education in Illinois,” Amiridis said.

Another group focused on criminal justice reform, public safety and building a better justice system.

Jason Stamps, acting director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice, and Joseph Strickland, associate director and senior researcher at the Jane Addams School of Social Work, were part of these conversations as members of the Restorative Justice and Safe Communities Committee.

“I’m from the city of Chicago,” Strickland said about why he participated. “I live on the South Side of Chicago in a community where there is a high prevalence of violence. These are issues that not only affect me as a community member, but as a neighbor, uncle, friend, from a personal standpoint and from a professional standpoint because my research focuses on how black males bounce back from traumatic situations like gun violence, gangs, prison and homelessness.”

Joining the committee on Job Creation and Economic Opportunity was Teresa Córdova, director of the Great Cities Institute at UIC. Suzet McKinney, CEO of the Illinois Medical District and UIC alumna (SPH ‘09), co-chaired the committee.

“Broadly speaking, the group was most concerned about identifying sectors and making recommendations to the new administration for specific strategies that can be explored and potentially implemented to create jobs in Illinois, but to also grow the economy in Illinois,” McKinney said. “The opportunity to serve on the Job Creation and Economic Development Committee was not only an honor for me, but I think it speaks to how well my training and the education that I received at the UIC School of Public Health has prepared me for the work that I am doing.”

Other UIC alumni who served on transition committees for Pritzker included:

  • Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, co-chair of Restoring Illinois Infrastructure committee
  • Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, member of Serving Illinois Heroes committee
  • Rodrigo Garcia, member of Serving Illinois Heroes committee
  • Clarisol Duque, member of Budget and Innovation committee
  •  Josina Morita, member of Restoring Illinois’ Infrastructure committee
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